President's ForumSpring 2015

The roots you remember are bearing fruit today

It will be easy this spring and summer to observe the bricks-and-mortar projects ramping up on campus and see them as the fulfillment of our Vision 2030 strategic plan. And there’s no denying the excitement so much activity creates. But of course the real excitement has another source altogether. Yes, the UIndy Health Pavilion at the corner of Hanna and State actually looks like a building, not just a construction site, especially now that the windows are in place. Right after Commencement, Krannert Memorial Library is closing for the summer (though we will continue to make its print collections available) to undergo a renovation that will bring it decisively into the 21st century.  The College of Health Sciences, including the schools of nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, will soon vacate Martin Hall for the move to the new health pavilion—a perfect opportunity to upgrade many of our science labs and determine the new uses for the space.

But what I encourage us all to focus on is the why behind these projects. They are in fact being undertaken as part of the realization of the UIndy verities: maintaining and building on tradition, honoring the commitment to community, and striving to have a positive impact on that community—defined both narrowly and broadly. For example, the health pavilion will enable cross-disciplinary research and collaboration as never before on our campus and will give our students opportunities for hands-on learning while helping to meet community health needs.

In keeping with University tradition, students will develop stronger relationships with faculty as they partner in research and clinical opportunities. The revitalized library will employ technology and learning spaces that enable students and faculty to work together on interdisciplinary research and presentations. Attractive new vistas of the Smith Mall quadrangle and a café will reinforce a sense of campus community, encouraging socializing and offering refreshment without unduly interrupting study and research, as students will no longer need to leave the library for coffee or a bite to eat. The upgraded science laboratories of Martin Hall will better prepare our students for the world they will encounter in their careers. The new townhouses will accommodate the increasing demand for housing both on and near campus while helping to create a new standard for the Shelby streetscape.

These and many other initiatives are part of the $50-million investment in the University and the neighboring community, a five-year plan of capital projects and educational enhancements approved by the Board of Trustees in February 2014. This will build a foundation for the University to seek support for programs, scholarships, research, and endowed positions that will create an unparalleled experience for students and put UIndy at the national forefront of higher education. The strategic plan calls for many improvements to programs and facilities, and all spring from the core educational values and traditions that you, our alumni, hold dear. The feel of the place, the low student-to-faculty ratio (12:1) that leads to personal attention, our impressive employment and grad-school placement rates for our graduates—all these hallmarks continue. While the bricks and mortar serve as visible reminders of growth, the University’s ethos is thriving, and its work continues in earnest.

So I hope you will see these projects as part of our continuing efforts toward fulfilling the promise your alma mater has always held. That promise is the real reason for the excitement on campus.

the authorMarty